Little over two months ago, Inter Milan were languishing 17th in Serie A. Relegation seemed a possibility; the Scudetto a pipedream.
Claudio Ranieri’s men have, however, emphatically turned things around. Indeed, following the previous weekend’s 1-0 win over arch-rivals and reigning champions AC Milan, they came from behind to edge Lazio 2-1 yesterday for their seventh successive victory.
The result, which was secured by goals from Diego Milito and Giampaolo Pazzini, lifted Inter to fourth, just six points off the pace. And although Ranieri criticised I Nerazzuri’s performance against I Biancocelesti, Javier Zanetti has underlined the importance of putting another three points on the board.
“The most important thing against Lazio was the victory,” insisted the 38-year-old Argentinian, who arrived at Inter from Banfield in 1995. “We needed to continue this run of wins, which is crucial to our progression.
“Let’s not forget that a month ago, many said we would have to fight just to avoid relegation. They said that we were an old team, but we’ve always stayed positive and kept working, and this is the result.”
Juventus top Serie A, with Milan a point behind and Udinese a further two points back in third. But Inter playmaker Wesley Sneijder, who has declared that he is staying at the San Siro despite reported interest from Manchester City and Manchester United, is optimistic on his side’s chances of becoming Italian champions for the sixth time since the turn of the century.
“Lazio are difficult opponents to face, especially after our derby against Milan,” said the 27-year-old Dutchman. "This win means a lot. If we continue to play like we are then we can target the Scudetto.”
Moratti applauds reborn Milito
Key to Inter’s revival has been Diego Milito. The 32-year-old striker disappointed as I Nerazzurri struggled at the start of the season, and was linked with a move away from the San Siro this month. However, the Argentinian has now hit five goals in his last four outings to bring back memories of his goalscoring exploits during the club’s treble-winning campaign of 2009/10.
“It’s a good job that he has returned to being decisive,” said Inter president Massimo Moratti of the man he signed from Genoa. “We were counting on him.
“It didn’t seem very easy, but he is a champion. He strikes the ball in such a way that it’s a joy to see his goals. And he scores so many. Let’s hope he continues in this way.”
Click this Classic Players link to read about the superb careers of former Inter players Giuseppe Meazza, Giacinto Facchetti, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Daniel Passarella, Enzo Scifo, Lothar Matthaus and Roberto Baggio.